It was a great year for phones. The limit to what smartphones can do is being pushed every year and 2016 gave us the very best yet. Cameras got better, chips got faster and design reached a new pinnacle.
So, with the year ending, Jon went back to see which phones were his favorite for the year. He broke his selections down into different categories that he believes are the most important to factor in when buying a smartphone. Every one of these phones is great, but in certain areas, they exceeded even the highest expectations.
Here are Jon’s best smartphones of 2016.
Best Camera: Pixel (Runner Up: iPhone 7 Plus)
When it came down to it, the Pixel and iPhone 7 Plus were very close, but in the end the Pixel takes home the prize for best camera. The Pixel’s 12.3MP camera proved to be the best in exposure, focusing and image quality. The iPhone 7 Plus’ 12MP camera was top-notch with its real-life color accuracy.
Not that there was anything wrong with the iPhone’s camera, the Pixel just delivered a slight edge. At the end of the day you really can’t go wrong with either.
Best Screen: Galaxy S7 Edge
Samsung makes the best display right now, so it’s no surprise to see the S7 Edge take this category. It’s beautiful WQHD Super AMOLED display looks vibrant and rich and with the melting edges that make it feel like it has no side-bezels, it wast the clear-cut winner.
Best Battery: Moto Z Force
Motorola surprised us all with its new Moto Z phones. The new modular-inspired phones feature neat tricks, but the most impressive thing was the 3,500mAh battery found in the Moto Z Force. And on top of that, you can buy a Moto Mod battery that seamlessly hooks on to the back, and you have even more juice.
Best Intangible: Galaxy S7 Edge
The S7 Edge has a little bit of everything. From its impressive Super AMOLED display, glass on glass design, beefy specs and great camera, this phone was the complete package.
Best Software: iPhone 7 and Pixel
Google joined Apple in becoming vertically integrated companies that design both software and hardware. Thus, the iPhone 7 and Pixel take the crown for best software. You already know of Apple’s curation of the iOS and iPhone marriage, but Google’s Pixel took Android to new levels of stability and refinement no other manufacturer has achieved.
Best Build/Durability: Galaxy S7 Active
The Galaxy S7 Active is the most durable phone just by its sheer rugged build. It bypasses the back glass panel and aluminum frame found in its brother, the S7 Edge, and instead adopts a plastic and rubberized build that make it nearly indestructible. I’m not kidding. We dropped it from 400 feet in the air, and although it sustained damage, the phone still worked. That’s really the best seal of approval we can give to a phone’s durability.
There are a lot of phones we left off because there were just too many. The OnePlus 3T, LG V20 and HTC 10 ranked high on our list, but just missed the mark. Then there’s the now defunct Note 7, which might have occupied a few of the categories above if it had managed to keep it together, but such is life.
Check out the video above to see why Jon selected these winners.